Letters for Sunday, December 5, 2021

Visitor alarmed by racial slurs


I am currently stationed in Japan working for the U.S. Navy, and I recently visited the beautiful island of Kaua‘i for the first time to meet up with my family for Thanksgiving. I had not seen my wife and daughter for nearly a year, and as nature-lovers we scheduled a family photo shoot to cherish the memories of this beautiful island.

We were thoroughly impressed with how well the island has been preserved. In addition, the local Native Hawaiians were extremely welcoming and treated my family and I with warm kindness. However, I experienced an unfortunate incident at the Big Save Market in Po‘ipu on Friday afternoon of Nov. 26, only one day after arriving to Kaua‘i.

While waiting in line to purchase items to take back to the Koloa Landing Resort, an older Caucasian patron of the store who walked with a cane shouted out a racial joke directed at me in front of everyone in line as well as the store employees. Essentially, I was called a monkey, and he continued to taunt me loudly in front of everyone as I wait in line. As I ignored his comments in disbelief, an employee of the store eventually requested that I proceed to the self-checkout aisle, in which, I assume, to rescue me from the public humiliation I was experiencing.

Unfortunately, as a Black American, I have experienced racial encounters in the past; however, nothing as blatant and hurtful as this experience. Upon my departure to the airport, I shared this experience with the taxi driver, and she insisted that I convey this incident to the local paper to shed awareness that this is not acceptable behavior on the island.

Nonetheless, we did not let this incident ruin our time together as a family, and we hope to return to Kaua‘i for a family reunion in the future. Thank you for your time in this unfortunate matter.


Stephen Watson, Kanagawa, Japan

KIUC has kuleana (responsibility) to community of Anahola

I drive on Kuhio Highway heading to Kapa‘a and, looking mauka, I see three distinct images within my vision.

Of course, the solar panels have been up for a couple of years. I remember vividly a meeting for the locals of Anahola at Kapa‘a Elementary School, where questions were raised. But one question stuck in mind was, “Will you provide jobs for those living in Anahola?” Another question was “Why don’t you build a gym for the community?”

A representative for KIUC assured that there will be jobs available when the solar panels were completed, but no comment about a gym. I sometimes see this one Hawaiian bradda who maintains the area fronting the highway adjacent to the solar panels. I applaud him that he must be the only one getting paid.

Let’s move on. Now we have a facility for KIUC being under construction in the same area because their facility in Kapa‘a is not feasible and why not re-locate to Anahola because homestead land is manuahi (free of charge)?

Kalani Construction is the contractor for this facility, and the workers have another job for them. But what about when it is completed? Do you think the locals will have any jobs for them at that facility?

My final comment is about the highway construction fronting these two KIUC buildings. I’m sure the federal and state governments have secured funds to improve just this section on Hawaiian homestead lands makai and mauka of the highway.

Just a short distance from this construction site that I have mentioned, the intersection of Kuhio Highway and Kukuihale Road needs to be improved soon, and not later, because it is a hazard in disguise.

KIUC has received these gifts, but remember this is not the Hawaiian term kuleana (responsibility), but more like, “thanks Anahola, and what do us locals get in return? ‘Ole (nothing!)

Pa‘aluhi Gonsalves, Anahola

  1. Steven McMacken December 5, 2021 5:10 am Reply

    Kauai has its share of bigots, too, Stephen. And they come in all shapes and sizes. One would think we would be beyond this sort of behavior. Sadly, we’re not. In this case, the patron should have been escorted out of the store and told his business wasn’t welcome there anymore. Permanently banning him wouldn’t have been too severe a punishment.

  2. Ted DeMarce December 5, 2021 7:53 am Reply

    Sorry for the load mouth twit,,, I am happy you found the local people nice and treated you well. I have been coming to the island since 1962, and am always impressed with the local folks, The one thing I noticed is that the young folks are in to the Aloha spirit. At my age 83 I have been helped many times. I also find when I have to return to the mainland, I have a better attitude, I have never cared if a person is black, green or has purple poka dots, Its how big is the persons heart. Thank you for for service… Mahalo nui loa,,,ted from Wenatchee

  3. LTEreader December 5, 2021 10:10 am Reply

    “I shared this experience with the taxi driver, and she insisted that I convey this incident to the local paper to shed awareness that this is not acceptable behavior on the island.”

    It’s 2021 and THAT behavior should NOT be acceptable ANYWHERE! Old or not, with or without cane, that racist jerk should have been told to leave the store and NEVER return!
    I’m so sorry you had to experience such disgusting behavior here.
    On behalf of the many decent residents on Kaua’i, thank you for your service. And, I’m glad you didn’t let that idiot spoil the limited & precious time you had with your family!

  4. YuCalJoe December 5, 2021 11:57 am Reply

    Mr. Watson, I’m proud of you for not owning the idiocy that someone else offered you in the form a racial statement. We are all God’s creation, and some day we will see that. Until then, haters and dividers will exist. I refuse to play any of the games. Character is the basic form of determining a persons positive contribution to society. You sir, have a strong character. Well done!

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